FOUR-TIME World Championships medallist Ato Boldon has said the decline in track and field in Trinidad and Tobago did not happen overnight.
TT's 16-member contingent failed to qualify for a single final at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, which concluded on Sunday in Budapest, Hungary.
It was the third straight World Championships that TT left empty-handed.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was also grim for TT, with no medals, and only Jereem Richards (men's 200m), men's 4x400 (Richards, Deon Lendore, Dwight St Hillaire and Machel Cedenio), Portious Warren (women's shot put) and Tyra Gittens (women's long jump) reaching track and field finals.
Boldon, one of the most decorated TT athletes, is now a highly respected commentator in world athletics and is typically outspoken.
He told Newsday on Monday, "When I was sounding the alarm for years, nobody wanted to listen. Let all of them who knew so much then fix it now."
For several years Boldon, a four-time Olympic medallist, has been critical of the National Association of Athletics Administration (NAAA). In 2021 he slammed the "amateur" approach to the sport in TT.
"We have been left behind by so many countries at the highest level of sport because we are stuck doing the same amateur things and expecting a different result. It pains me to see where things are now," he said.
The former senator also knocked the administrators, saying, “Same dotishness, same jokers talking a set of annual rubbish, same 1970s thinking, same personal agendas, same relay coaching roulette, same pretending sh---y Carifta/junior results are ok, same ‘'We not changing a damn thing, this good enough.'"
Boldon declined further comment on Monday when asked to give his thoughts on the latest initiative by the Ministry of Sport and Community Development to use the expertise of global athletics powerhouse Jamaica to help improve the sport here.
In March 2023, a TT contingent including Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, NAAA president George Comissiong and other officials visited Jamaica for their annual Boys and Girls Championship, a popular high-school athletics meet.
Last week a team from GC Foster College in Jamaica arrived in Trinidad for sport workshops with local stakeholders.
Comissiong could not be reached for comment on Monday, as WhatsApp calls and a message were unanswered up to press time.